Keep your eyes open when buying second-hand
BIKE-expert, graduate engineer Dirk Zedler, gives some advice on guarantee, defects and the first check-up when buying a bike
BIKE: What’s the guarantee-situation like?
DIRK ZEDLER: This is a rather unpleasant topic for the buyer. The voluntary manufactuer’s guarantee only applies to the first owner with all brands I know. No matter how old the bike is.
And if there is a severe defect?
If the manufacturer is responsible for the defect, e.g. when assembling a wrong stem-handlebar-combination, legal product liability will apply of course. But also in this case, there are some borderline-cases: When the first owner has converted the bike or – custom made – assembled it himself. In this case you have to be careful. At best, the buyer makes sure by checking original invoice, repair receipts, guarantee cards and owner’s manual whether the bike is in its original condition. The BIKE-Markt magazine of the respective bike’s year of construction is a must anyway.
But most bikes have been converted, haven’t they?
In this case, I recommend having it checked at a specialized dealer’s who knows the respective model. The worst accidents happen in the stem-handlebar-area. I personally would always renew this combination when it is older than two years of age. This is not so expensive, but my life depends on it.
Which other parts should the buyer pay attention to?
From my experience as a bike expert I know that, beside stem and handlebar, most defects occur with wheels and suspension forks.
How can the buyer protect himself against this?
Although it is nerve-racking – deflate the tires and measure the rims’ wall thickness with a vernier caliper. If it is one millimeter or less, there is the danger of rim bursts. Check, if the suspension fork works. Many models are done after two years without having been used heavily.